Category Archives: ACE Education USA

2013 Oct 17: USA: Allentown Diocese priest didn’t report sex abuse disclosed during confession, lawsuit alleges

By Tom Shortell | The Express-Times
on October 17, 2013 at 6:28 PM

A South Korean student who was sexually abused at a Pen Argyl academy is suing Pius X High School and the Diocese of Allentown.
In a lawsuit filed today in Northampton County, the student said she alerted a priest at Pius X of the sexual abuse four times during confession. The priest never alerted authorities, according to the lawsuit.

Matt Kerr, a spokesman for the diocese, declined comment. The diocese does not publicly comment on ongoing litigation, he said.
The student was one of dozens who lived at Ace Academy USA in order to attend class at Pius X. Getting into a South Korean college or university is extremely competitive, so the students attended American schools to better their chances of getting into an American college, ACE Academy Director Richard Kim said in 2007.
Three years later, Kim began sexually assaulting the 14-year-old girl left in his care, according to police. The abuse lasted from November 2010 to February 2011 before police were notified, the lawsuit stated.

Kim was sentenced to five to 10 years in state prison. His parents, Min and Yong Kim, who were heavily involved in running ACE Academy, pleaded guilty this year to failing to report suspected child abuse. Min and Yong Kim were sentenced to one year of probation.
The academy is also named in the suit. There is no public phone listing for the Kims and they couldn’t be reached for comment.
In the lawsuit, the student’s attorneys say the diocese and high school officials either knew or should have known that Richard Kim posed a risk to the students at the school. ACE and the Kim family also failed to protect the students entrusted to their care.
“We feel they had a major responsibility to these kids. They traveled thousands of miles to attend that school. You can’t just disclaim any responsibility,” said Howard Myerowitz, an attorney representing the victim.

Myerowitz said the abuse came to light only when the victim told a friend also attending ACE Academy. The friend alerted her mother back in South Korea, who alerted the victim’s mother, who contacted authorities, he said.

That differs somewhat from information offered by Assistant District Attorney Patricia Broscius, who prosecuted Richard Kim. During the sentencing, she also credited a Pius X priest with stepping forward and alerting authorities, she said. She confirmed tonight that the priest was willing to testify about the victim’s confession at trial if needed.
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2011 Jul 07: Ace Academy director accused of sexually assaulting student at the Pen Argyl foreign school

2012 May 04: Former director at Ace Academy pleads guilty to sexual assaults on student

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2012 May 04: Former director at Ace Academy pleads guilty to sexual assaults on student

By Tom Shortell | The Express-Times

on May 04, 2012 at 12:17 PM, updated May 04, 2012 at 5:23 PM

Express-Times File PhotoRichard Kim, left, walks into district court in Wind Gap with his attorney, Charles W. Gordon.

A director of a foreign exchange academy associated with Pius X High School pleaded guilty today to sexually molesting one of the teenage students under his supervision.

Richard Kim, 34, spoke only in whispers as he entered a guilty plea to Northampton County Judge Leonard Zito to corruption of minors and 17 counts of indecent assault. In return for his plea, the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office agreed to drop 59 other related charges.

Authorities say Kim repeatedly molested a then 13-year-old Korean girl who was attending Pius X High School through Ace Academy USA, the foreign exchange program run by his father, Min Kim. Assistant District Attorney Patricia Broscius said the victim was one of several Korean students living at the Pen Argyl academy. Students kept to a strict regiment of chores, were told not to speak Korean at school and were not allowed to participate in most after-school activities offered at the high school.

Broscius said the victim was struggling to adapt to her surroundings in America, and was scolded by Min Kim, who was called “Daddy Director” by the students, for not smiling enough. The one person she felt close to was Richard Kim, who showed her compassion and made her feel good about herself, Broscius said.

“He was her friend at the school. He was her only friend there,”Broscius said.

Their bond led to one-on-one counseling sessions, Broscius said, but about one month after her arrival in the country, Kim leaned in and kissed her, authorities say. Kim promised not to do it again after the victim pulled away in shock, but the sexual contact gradually escalated to groping and forcing her to perform sexual acts on him, Broscius said.

The contact continued for three months before the victim, who is not Catholic, eventually told a priest during confession at the high school, Broscius said. The priest told her she needed to step forward about the abuse, and the victim alerted her mother back in South Korea what was happening, according to authorities. The mother came to the United State to remove her daughter from the school and informed authorities, Broscius said.

The plea was a stark turnaround for Kim, who vehemently denied the assaults took place when he was first charged. His attorney, Charles Gordon, declined to comment on why his client accepted the plea deal a week before he was scheduled for trial.

The criminal investigation into Richard Kim was hampered by Min Kim, Broscius said. He is under investigation for allegedly telling the other students at Ace to support Richard Kim over the victim, but Broscius would not provide further details. Most of the students at the academy have since left, she said.

A call to Min Kim seeking comment was not immediately returned. Gordon said he is in talks with the elder Kim but does not represent him. He is still listed as a staff member on Pius X High School’s website.

Broscius requested Richard Kim, who was out on bail, be held in Northampton County Prison. She feared that if Kim were allowed to remain out on bail, the remaining students at Ace Academy would be subjected to discipline for their willingness to testify against him. Broscius also said Kim was a flight risk.

“I am certain he has ties to Korea, and I am certain he has the ability and wherewithal to flee the country,” she said.

Gordon dismissed Broscius’ claims, saying Richard Kim has not had any contact with the school since he was charged and has been living in Philadelphia. Richard Kim was born in the United States, attended Penn State University and would be willing to surrender his passport as a show of good faith, he said. Gordon also said Richard Kim had no involvement in any pressure his father may have placed on the other students.

“We agreed the defendant should not be punished for the acts of the father,” Gordon said.

Zito reset Kim’s bail, raising it to 10 percent of $500,000, and ordered Kim to surrender his passport. Court records show Kim made bail, and he is due in court Aug. 3 for sentencing.

Ace Academy has a contract to send its students to Pius X High School through the 2017-18 school year, but Diocese of Allentown spokesman Matt Kerr said the school is reviewing whether to continue its relationship with Ace Academy. At the time the contract was signed, school officials saw the Korean academy as a way to keep the high school afloat as they struggled to keep enrollment up. In 2007, the Korean students made up seven percent of the 212-member student body. This year, enrollment has boomed up to 295, Kerr said.

“School enrollment has grown tremendously in recent years – not just with the Korean community, but overall. I’m sure the school is in a strong position,” he said.

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2011 Jul 07: Ace Academy director accused of sexually assaulting student at the Pen Argyl foreign school

2011 Jul 07: Ace Academy director accused of sexually assaulting student at the Pen Argyl foreign school

By Michael Buck | The Express-Times

on July 07, 2011 at 11:55 AM, updated July 07, 2011 at 9:53 PM

Express-Times Photo | MATT SMITHAce Academy is at 21 N. Lobb Ave. in Pen Argyl.

The director of a Slate Belt foreign study program has been accused of using his position to sexually assault a teenage student, court records say.

Richard Kim, 33, of Pen Argyl, was arraigned this morning before District Judge Adrianne Masut and is charged with six counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, three counts of sexual assault, 17 counts of corruption of minors and 51 counts of indecent assault. He is free after posting $5,000 bail.

Kim’s attorney, Charles Gordon, refuted the allegations leveled at Kim, who is the director of the Ace Academy in Pen Argyl. The facility, which is also known as ACE Education USA, sends South Korean students to Pius X High School in Bangor.

“We vigorously deny this ever occurred,” Gordon said. “Our position is that it never occurred.”

Richard Kim

Kim is alleged to have had 17 encounters with the girl from Nov. 14, 2010, until Feb. 20, court records say. Kim allegedly molested and had oral sex with the girl while the two were alone in the dormitory at 21 N. Lobb Ave., records say.

The case was referred to Pen Argyl police after the Northampton County Division of Children, Youth and Families received a complaint.

Gordon said Kim, who was born and raised in the United States, has been separated from the Ace Academy and will no longer have any contact with the students.

“There has never been a complaint or a hint of a complaint,”Gordon said of Kim.

Gordon requested Masut set an unsecured bail, saying Kim has strong ties to the area and turned himself in this morning. Masut said she could not do that given the nature of the charges. She set bail at 10 percent of $50,000, which was met.

Ace has sent students to Pius X since 2005 and has an agreement to send students there through the 2017-18 school year.